Family Mourning Loss Hires GLK for Justice
On the day after Thanksgiving 2008, tragedy struck a Walmart department store in Valley Stream, New York. A horde of shoppers trampled Walmart employee Jdimytai Damour in their eagerness to get to the store’s Black Friday sales.
Jdimytai, 34, was hired as a temporary maintenance worker at the Walmart in Green Acres Mall during the holiday season. In the early morning of November 28, Jdimytai was pulled away from his duties in order to control the crowd that had gathered in anticipation of the store’s post-Thanksgiving bargains. Managers chose Jdimytai to guard the doors because of his imposing frame, even though he had never received any security training.
When Jdimytai opened the doors at 5am, the crowd of eager shoppers began to force their way in, pushing past Jdimytai and into the store. Alone facing the mob, Jdimytai fell to the ground and was trampled to death while trying to protect a woman who was 8-months pregnant from the crush of the crowd. Four other shoppers suffered injuries during the mob scene, including the 28-year-old pregnant woman, who was hospitalized with minor injuries, and might have died had it not been for Jdimytai’s determination to keep her safe.
Marie Telismond, Jdimytai’s mother, reached out to Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. to help her family navigate the legal waters in the aftermath of her son’s death. The Walmart store in which this tragedy occurred had no policies in place concerning crowd control, even during large sales events such as the one on Black Friday.
The store’s inadequate security measures and safety protocols, coupled with their lack of regard for Jdimytai’s inexperience in dealing with crowds, led to the untimely death of the young man. This tragic story was immediately picked up by news media around the country.
Ms. Telismond and the rest of Jdimytai’s family were hounded for interviews by major broadcast companies who were interested in a headline that involved the nation’s largest retailer.
In response to the tragedy, New York City Council Member Jim Gennaro and Nassau County Legislator Joseph Scannell introduced legislation to prevent stores from putting workers in the position Jdimytai found himself the only barrier between an angry mob and the gadgets they desired. These bills impose safety precautions on stores that hold door buster sales like the one that ended in tragedy at the Valley Stream Walmart.
Hopefully, with Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. on the case and legislation at the city and county level, the story of Jdimytai’s wrongful death will change the negligent culture of companies who have these kinds of sales and prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.